The Good, The Not So Bad, & The Ugly | Link Building

Posted on Sep 15, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Seo Austin

Link building is a whole other world. You can spend hours and hours building links every day for years, and there will still be opportunities to build. The internet is such a vast breeding ground for brands, that every blog, every blog network, every business listing, and every article directory in the World Wide Web, has probably been scoped out for a business opportunity at some point. This is why it is so important, especially with Google’s eyes on you, to focus on how VALUABLE a link will be to YOUR business.


THE GOOD.

You want link juice. You want to show up on those Search Engine Results Pages as the number one for your carefully chosen keywords. Several forums and blogs in SEO will preach that DoFollow links are the only worthwhile kind of link for your website. They believe that if a link doesn’t help you climb the Google ladder, it isn’t worth your time.

We can’t deny that these types of links are the best. Especially if you can get a DoFollow link on a website with great page rank, great domain authority, and a reasonably low amount of other outbound links (wish we came by those every day).  Also, Google rewards the amount of relevance the page or blog linking to you has with your site, which makes DoFollow links on NICHE sites so very valuable. While we do agree that these links are the best for search results, we can’t say that NoFollow links don’t hold their own value.

THE NOT SO BAD.

I think it is about time we address this little thing called Traffic. Some people seem to think that the ONLY valuable links are the ones with link juice, and that’s because they are the ones that can climb your company up on Google. Today’s Valuable Lesson: Search Engines are NOT the only channels for Traffic.

How many times have you clicked on a link from a website you were on. Did you go to Google first to examine what that link would maybe lead you to before clicking on it? How many times have you read news from your favorite news site or a new story from your favorite blogger and clicked on a link they suggested? It’s because you trust their expert opinion! It happens! People don’t always find what they need through search engines! The more opportunities you have out there to increase TRAFFIC to your website, the more TRAFFIC you will GET to your website. That’s why I have to defend the poor, shunned NoFollow links. They do their job. They just do it differently.

THE UGLY.

Link farms. This is why you really want to trust the company who is doing your SEO. Someone can promise you links, physically show you the links exist, and never tell you that they are actually hurting your website. This can be anything from an article directory that accepts all content without reviewing it, to a website that allows you to submit whatever links you want in as many different forms so that you can for purposes of getting higher on the search engines. That’s not natural, and Google isn’t dumb. They have the USER of the search engines in mind. They want their searchers to find the most valuable information they need when they search for a specific keyword. That’s why Google respects ORGANIC and NATURAL links. They want the people who link to you, to really be endorsing your company or brand.

Besides, if you get to a domain page, and it has NO page rank, and no authority domains linking to it, what SEO value are you going to get from that? The theory is that Google divides the total link juice of the domain website by how many outbound links it refers, and then passes that fraction of link juice onto them equally. If there is not juice to start with, how can you pour the rest a glass? An even BIGGER mistake is if you put a link to one of those Link Farms on your website. Google will punish you for that. Don’t be a partner in crime.

The good news is, at Digital Street Inc., you can trust we only practice White Hat SEO. We will make your links matter. They will be valuable, they will be respected by Google, and they will bring you the right kind of traffic. We know you have a great product/service, it is all a matter of making it available to the right people, in the right place- right where they would be searching for it. An optimized website and strategic links will open the doors.

Big Things Happening At Google – “Instantly!”

Posted on Sep 8, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

You know big things are happening over at Google when their CEO, Eric Schmidt, tweets the following message:

“I predict big things happening today at Google.  We’re already fast… fast is about to get faster.”

Twitter _ Eric Schmidt_ I predict big things happe ...

Now that tweet and all the fun logo changes are coming together!  Google has just release real-time live results that change as the user types their query!  It’s called Google Instant.  Just what is Google Instant?

Videos are always more fun than reading, right?  Check out the video from Google

Google Instant is rolling out over several days to users signed in to a Google Account.  We have been testing it out and have been amazed!  Here is a quick shot of the screen:

digital street - Google Search

This is a major change.  It should help users find what they want faster—heck, you don’t even need to click the “search” button anymore if you don’t want too.  And like Schmidt’s Tweet from this morning suggests… it’s all about the speed with Google Instant (and I can’t stress enough how remarkably fast it is).  Remember, Google only broke through in the search industry and rose to prominence because their results were so much faster (and more accurate) than the competition—speed has always been important to Google. It seems they’re bound and determined to do whatever they can to ensure that they’re results are quicker and more accurate, so that we have less reason to look elsewhere.

Take a look at our Email Marketing Platform!

Posted on Jul 2, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Here is a quick video to give you an idea of what our email marketing platform looks like!

Why Choose Digital Street For Your Email Marketing Program?

Posted on Jun 28, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

If you are considering Email Marketing for your business, we are committed at Digital Street to getting you directly connected with your customers and prospective customers alike. Our services will help you create email campaigns that are targeted, optimized, and measurable.

Email Marketing is a low cost, high impact solution, and Digital Street does not require a long-term contract. Our pricing is based on a month-to-month service agreement with affordable plans that start at as little as $50.00 a month with a full-service approach on every level of account. Each customer we have, large or small, receives the same level of service.

To get you started, your dedicated account manager will set up an initial training session on how to use our Email Marketing platform. You will learn how to create contact lists, import contacts, and how to use other email editing features such as auto responders and triggers. We also offer complementary data entry services. The Digital Street Email Platform can enable you to capture emails from your web site by generating an e-newsletter signup form for your website. Sign up forms are a great way to begin harvesting emails for your contact lists.  Additionally, we will offer tips and best practices to ensure delivery and increased open rates.

Once you have your contact lists created and uploaded, you will begin training on how to build customized email campaigns using a variety of easy-to-use templates, or you can request a custom designed template from our art department. While creating a campaign, you will be able to instantly preview it on multiple email programs such as Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!, AOL, and Outlook in order to ensure your email campaign is compatible with all of the major internet service providers and email programs.

Another great feature included in our service is the ability to receive customer feedback via surveys. You can create surveys with as many options as you wish and you will have the ability to track all of your survey results located conveniently within your reporting section.

We advocate personalizing your emails as much as possible in order to really stand out and create that one to one communication style. One way to personalize your emails in our system is with the use of Dynamic Content tags. Dynamic Content tags allow recipients to receive images in their emails based on the type of mail they have requested. For example, if a golf course has a combination of women and men golfers and they want to promote merchandise from their pro-shop, they could select a dynamic content tag to display women’s apparel for women recipients and men’s apparel for the men golfers. Also, you can add text personalization to the subject line and beginning of the email. For example, a subject line like: Subject: An email for “John Doe: from your favorite golf course.” can really stand out and get opened without hesitation.

Tracking emails is important to determine the effectiveness of your campaigns and if email marketing is viable for your business. After you have sent an email campaign, you can instantly view response data including open rates, links clicked, bounced emails, unsubscribed emails, and forwarded emails.

Additionally, our email marketing services include unlimited image hosting, multiple split testing, free built-in SPAM checking, and tons more. Find out how to get started with Digital Street’s email marketing services here.

Why Use Video In Your Marketing?

Posted on Jun 14, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Digital Street Inc Video

You may still be a little unsure of how Digital Street’s video marketing service can help drive traffic to your website. Rather than confusing you more with a bunch of technical explanations, we want to compare it to something simple—a store’s salesperson. A lot of times you’ll go into a store to just browse, but when a salesperson helps you out and points out things that you may be interested in, you are more likely to buy something. Well, online videos are a lot like having a sales force on your website by adding a human element to highlight your services. Essentially, they are short snapshots of a business that can help turn online browsers into buyers for the same reasons a store’s salesperson does.

They greet customers.
Just as a salesperson greets you when you walk into a store, online videos allow you to speak to customers interested in your business. They show your brand’s personality in a way that might not come across in your website’s design or text.

They talk about promotions.
When you have a lot of products or services to offer, online videos can help draw attention to specific capabilities that may be new, updated, on sale, etc.

They bring you something quickly.
Even though everything about your business may be found on your website, a video can show people information faster and in a more entertaining way. This is especially helpful when explaining something complicated. For instance, wouldn’t you rather watch a 5-minute video over reading several pages of text?

They let you see something first.
If a person can watch a video about a product and how it works, they are more likely to consider buying it. Videos are a great way of showing product demonstrations, tutorials, training, and customer testimonials.

Have you checked out our demo reels? We would love to help your company with adding video to your marketing efforts!

7 Reasons To Use Email Marketing

Posted on Jun 8, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

There are so many businesses that fear the unknown and are frightened of starting email marketing.  Although many are still hesitant to move away from their tried-and-true snail-mail methods, others are rapidly discovering that email marketing is one of the most effective means of generating sales.
When Shop.org surveyed retailers for its State of Retailing Online 2009 report, it found that email was the most-mentioned successful tactic overall.

The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in February/March 2009 placed email marketing second only to search engine optimization for generating conversions.

And research conducted in 2009 by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that email outperforms all other forms of direct marketing. The bigger question, of course, is why? Of all the hundreds or even thousands of messages consumers are exposed to each day, why is email marketing so effective?

1.  Email Marketing Reaches Many!

It’s hard to find someone that doesn’t have at least one email address!  What this means for your business is that you can reach out to your entire customer and prospect base.

2.  Email Marketing Is Proactive!

Email marketing goes directly into your customer’s email inbox! They don’t have to search through a phone directory or newspaper to find your services!  With one click of a mouse, they can contact you directly to get a quote or more information about your services!

3. Email Marketing is Targeted

Most forms of advertising are based on the idea that if you hit thousands of people with your message, even though it may mean nothing to most of them, a few are likely to respond.

Email marketing is based on the idea of sending the right message directly to the right people based on their preferences, local market conditions, and other factors.

You can build a master list and then segment it by geographic location, marital status, gender, age, income, time of year, etc. Doing so eliminates a lot of the guesswork that makes other forms of marketing so inefficient.

4. Email Marketing Provides Data

We at Digital Street provide you with reports to show which emails or messages went through and which didn’t, so you can improve your next campaign.  You are able to run split tests, sending one offer or message to half your list and a different one to the other half, so you can get a better feel for what your customers want and what your prospects buy from you!

5. Email Marketing Allows You to Engage

It’s nice to get the immediate reaction from a customer who sees your ad just before going shopping. But your real goal is to build a relationship with a broader base of prospects so they think of you whenever it’s time to hit the stores.

Email marketing allows you to do that by bringing them shopping tips, updates on trends, seasonal items, and special loyalty-program deals on a regular basis. It’s a great way to engage them—and keep them engaged.

6. Email Marketing is Less Intrusive

Unlike telemarketing calls, email marketing doesn’t interrupt a prior activity to deliver a message. Opening email is the activity your customers and prospects are engaged in when they see your message. If you’ve done a good job of building that relationship, they’ll look forward to seeing what you have to say.

7. Email Marketing Works

According to the DMA’s (Direct Marketing Association) research, email marketing generated a return on investment (ROI) of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009. You’re unlikely to find that kind of ROI from any other form of marketing or advertising—the best reason of all to launch an email-marketing campaign.

When done correctly, email marketing allows you to become (and remain) visible to your customers and prospects with highly targeted messages at a minimal cost, all while delivering outstanding, measurable results that will ripple far beyond your pond of current customers.

10 Reasons Your Small Business Should Be Using Social Media

Posted on Apr 30, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

social-media-networks

Even if you have a great product it can be a real challenge to get a new company off the ground. If people don’t know about your products they obviously can’t buy them.

Typically, new businesses will invest heavily in traditional advertising, cold calling, and email marketing. All of these are legitimate and should be pursued.

However, a robust social media component to your marketing efforts can make all the difference.

Social media is about generating buzz. The only thing worse than bad press is no press at all. If people are not talking about your brand they’re probably not buying it.

Here are 10 reasons your small business should be using social media:

1. More Traffic (a lot more) – The amount of traffic a successful viral marketing campaign can generate is simply staggering.

2. Reputation Management – Find out what people are saying about your brand and where.

3. Increases Search Rank – The more people share your content and talk about your brand it generates natural links back to your site. This increases your search engine rank which increases your traffic and the quality of it.

4. Branding – Creating a recognizable identity and a strong brand is key to success.

5. Buzz – Get people talking about your brand. This will increase the spread of your brand via word of mouth. People trust what their friends and family tell them.

6. Levels The Playing Field – Social media allows tiny companies and one man shops to get the same exposure as multi-billion dollar companies with massive advertising budgets. A single viral video has the potential to be seen by as many people as a million dollar Super Bowl ad.

7. Saves Money – Social media costs a fraction of what traditional advertising does.

8. Increases Trust – Companies with a strong presence on social networks are more accessible. Companies that are more accessible tend to be more trustworthy (or are perceived that way).

9. Makes You Better – When you engage with customers through social media you’ll know what they want, what’s wrong, what’s right, and how you can do better. Domino’s Pizza heard from customers via social networks about how terrible their pizza had become. They responded by throwing out all the old recipes and starting from scratch.

10. Increases Your Market – The web has made doing business all over the world as easy as doing business in your own neighborhood. A robust social media presence will expose your brand to potential customers all over the world.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You

Posted on Apr 28, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Amanda Knox

American college student Amanda Knox was recently convicted of murder in Italy and sentenced to 26 years in prison. Knox allegedly murdered her roommate with the help of two accomplices. Most of what was used to convict Amanda in Italy would’ve never been allowed in an American court. I have no idea if she’s guilty or innocent, but suffice it to say the case is extremely controversial in the US and in Italy.

What I find most interesting and somewhat alarming about this case is the role that social media played in her conviction. While not the centerpiece of the case, Amanda’s social networking profiles were seen by prosecutors as strong evidence of her guilt.

Like many 20-year old college students, Amanda created a playful and somewhat sexy image of herself on Facebook and MySpace. She called herself “Foxy Knoxy” and frequently uploaded pictures of herself partying, acting silly, or posing in unusual ways. Her profiles were nothing out of the ordinary for someone her age and in fact would be considered quite typical. However, once accused of murder her profiles took on a whole new meaning.

Italian prosecutors used Amanda’s social networking profiles and her “Foxy Knoxy” persona to portray her as a slut and someone with loose morals quite capable of committing murder. Maybe they’re right, I don’t know. But it’s important to understand the implications of this. Maybe the person you portray on Facebook is really you, but if not you should think carefully about how you’re being perceived. When taken out of context seemingly innocent pictures or blog posts can become something else entirely.

The Italian media ran wild with the “Foxy Knoxy” meme and her Facebook pictures were on the cover of every newspaper and magazine in Italy and across Europe. It was later discovered that Amanda had written a short story several years earlier on MySpace about a man who drugs and rapes a girl. Once again, a short story like that doesn’t mean much until you’re accused of rape and murder.

Everything we write, say, post, or upload to the Internet will absolutely be there forever and could be used against us at anytime — even in a foreign country.

Foursquare Gets Down To Business

Posted on Apr 22, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

foursquare

I’ve been convinced over the last few months that location based services like Foursquare are going to be huge this year. Foursquare’s latest move may be the just the catalyst needed for this technology to catch fire.

Foursquare is now making itself much more business friendly by offering a suite of tools for business owners to use in conjunction with the service.

Now every unclaimed business venue has a link asking, “Are you the manager of this business?” The link takes managers to a page asking them for proof that they are indeed the manager so that Foursquare’s sales team can call them to set them up with tools for claiming their venue and managing offers. There is also a new Businesses page explaining the different tools available to local merchants.

Businesses who claim their venues on Foursquare get a dashboard with realtime stats on number of check-ins, times of day people check in, most recent visitors, and most frequent visitors. They can also manage the offers and badges people get when they check in. These include Mayor specials, specials for people who check in a certain number of times, or wildcard specials which can be customized. A special can be anything from a free drink to 20 percent off a purchase.

This is pretty exciting stuff. I can imagine this being very popular with businesses. The marketing potential of this technology is impossible to calculate at this point because it’s just too new. Mobile technology in all its forms is getting more popular by the second largely due to the iPhone. Local businesses need a way to cash-in on this technology and integrate their brands with it. Foursquare is undoubtedly the first of what will be many companies developing ways to do that.

Businesses should take advantage of this and give it a try. There’s no downside to registering your venue on Foursquare and creating a couple of promotions.

Video: Mark Zuckerberg Explains What Coming Facebook Changes Mean For Users

Posted on Apr 21, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that major changes are coming to Facebook. Mashable has the specifics, but what really matters to most people is how all this will affect them.

Here’s Zuck explaining what the coming changes will mean for users (don’t worry, it’s not a big deal)…

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